The Science of Drink-No-More
As reported by the Daily Telegraph, this new drug, developed by Lundbeck and currently going through clinical trials, curbs the desire to drink by making it less pleasurable. According to a study conducted the results of using this drug were:
"Over six months in the trial the average amount of alcohol consumed per day reduced from 84g per day – the equivalent to a bottle of wine – to 30g per day or a large glass of wine.The number of days they drank heavily reduced from 19 to seven in those taking the drug alongside counselling."
The single most heartbreaking thing I've witnessed in the 20 years that I've worked in the wine business is the number of people I've come across that are dependant on the product they produce or sell: alcohol. I've witnessed debilitating effects of this problem that can only be called heartbreaking and sad.
That's what makes the development of this new drug, called Nalmefene, such a hopeful event if it eventually comes to market. The Daily Telegraph story goes on to note that the side effects of the drug are dizziness, nausea, fatigue, sleep disorder or insomnia, vomiting, cold-like symptoms or excessive sweating. None of these side effects even begin to rise to the problematic level that alcohol dependence can.
I don't know what the market is for this kind of drug. It is unlikely anywhere near as big as the market for Viagra or Xanax or other happy pills. My concern is that market forces might curtail any urgency to bring this new drug to market.
Those of us in the wine industry and those that work in the beer and spirits industry find ourselves surrounded by alcohol. We have extraordinary access to alcohol. And we find positive messages surrounding drinking a constant. While I've seen no study on this issue, I would not be surprised to learn that those in this industry have a higher rate of alcohol abuse. I'm not a neo-prohibitionist. And I'm not making the case for heightened restrictions on access to alcohol.
I'm merely having my faith in science and technology to provide us with great and useful tools that go beyond streaming video and reconnecting with former high school friends renewed.